Proceeding up a slope on the Mount St. Joseph cross country course are (right to left) Magic sophomore Lauren Ehnow, Villa Maria junior Hope Brown and MSJ junior Megan Ciasullo. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

After seeing early interscholastic action in a multi-team scrimmage and at an invitational up near Allentown, Mount St. Joseph Academy launched its league season in cross country with a dual-meet at home last Wednesday afternoon.

The Magic found themselves quite evenly matched with the visiting Hurricanes of Villa Maria, as both teams lodged all of their five scorers in the top 10 places overall. In a duel for the individual victory, Villa junior Hope Brown edged out MSJ sophomore Lauren Ehnow, finishing the course in 21 minutes and two seconds, while Ehnow was just one second behind.

The visitors, also running their first official dual meet, would emerge with a 26-29 win in the team tally. It had rained hard in the middle of the day, but when the race got underway a 4:00 P.M., only a slight drizzle could be felt from time to time. It was not hot, but there was a lot of moisture in the air.

For third place in the event, Mount St. Joe junior Megan Ciasullo crossed the line alone in 21:26, but the next two spots belonged to the ‘Canes. Junior Sarah Raubenheimer nabbed fourth place in 21:36, while senior teammate Caroline Corr landed fifth in 21:48.

The two teams alternated the rest of the way through the top 10, with the Mount sending across senior tri-captains Jen DeGroat (sixth; 21:50), Jade Killion (eighth; 21:52) and Mollie Mullen (10th; 22:50). At the line, Villa senior Julia Ayres (seventh; 21:51) was right in between the Mount’s DeGroat and Killion, and the Hurricanes completed their scoring with a ninth-place showing by sophomore Katie Regan (22:39).

Knocking on the door of the top 10 with an 11th-place result was a Mount St. Joseph freshman who has been showing steady improvement, Olivia Millevoi (22:58). In 15th and 16th place were Magic sophomores Maeve Gallagher (23:28) and Kylie McGovern (23:32), and also making it into the top 20 were MSJ ninth-graders Annie Lemelin (18th; 23:38) and Cate Van Stone (19th; 23:39).

The Mounties’ next project would be to see how they fared in a diverse field of teams at the annual George School invitational. Head coach Kitty McClernand planned to work with her top runners on their late-race strategy, since just a few minor tweaks to their places last Wednesday would’ve swung the meet in the Magic’s favor.